Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Don't Care the Streets I Walk -- So Long as I Walk With Him

So ---

I've tried, previously, to write a novel. I immediately felt how daunting the task of developing characters and plot, but I mostly felt the burden on developing the environment.

I don't know that most writers feel the pressure I'm getting ready to describe. Goodness, I don't even know if I'd consider myself a writer, but I know that as soon as I started to develop characters, I was reminded of someone, either past or present, in my own life. It could be someone I had deep relationship with, but it could also be someone that I just knew by acquaintance. Suddenly - I was overcome with this fear that if something did ever come of this story I was creating people would assume that 'so and so' was really 'so and so'.

This led me to want to take on the daunting task of creating a new environment, like maybe if you move the characters to a place no one knows, they won't jump to many conclusions. What I found about this is that it is incredibly difficult to write about a place you've never been, even if you've read and read and read and read about it.  It's difficult to artistically describe streets you've never walked. Until you've lived, breathed, smelled and tasted a place, you don't really know the place.

And isn't the same true in our walk with Christ?

I can read and read and read and read. I can yearn for knowledge. I can take extra classes. I can consume the Word, meditate on it, pray it, and recite it, but if it never becomes more than words, more than a hypothesis of truth, then, well, we can't really describe the streets, suck in the air, or know the taste, particularly of seeing that the Lord is good.  {Psalm 34:8}

In student ministry, and even in our adult lives, when encouraging others to share their faith, we've encouraged them to share their own stories, with the idea, "No one can argue with your story."  It wasn't until recently that I've wondered how many of them (dare I say 'us') don't really have a story aside from a conversion experience.

Look back in Deuteronomy and the Isrealites were encouraged to mark themselves and their homes with reminders of what God had done in their lives.  This passed from one generation to the next, "Look at my story.  Look at what the God of the universe has undeniably done for us."  It was more than words on a page.  They were living and breathing a reality that was more than a theory... more than a profession of belief.  God was undeniably in their midst.  He lived amongst them, and they had proof.

For myself - I can look back over the course of my own Christian life and point at the times I felt the same proof.  I can describe a time that I walked alongside an active God who was a participant in my mundane life, and I've never felt such power, pleasure and intimacy.

Sadly, these have been seasons.  There have been seasons of walking with the author, and others of just reading His book... wondering about Him... believing what He says, but not really seeing it come to fruition in my own life.  These have been seasons of remembering. I've looked back and said, "I've experienced God in my life...," but the season becomes further and further and further in my past.  The experiences seem like a fairy tale in another life, rather than a life I've ever lived.

I was the one who stopped walking.  I was the one who became satisfied with just reading His Book.

It's high time I walk again with the author, that I see His view, I hear His voice, and I taste and see that He is good... and it become more than words written in a book or on my heart.  Lord, may it become a very real experience that I can taste, see, and feel, and describe to others. May there be proof of the work of the Gospel in my own life.  May the Gospel become a reality to me that becomes the center. May the Word of God be posted boldly on my walls... alongside the momentos of faith that have proven themselves real in a life only lived in the presence of the Author.

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